Victim forced to dig his own grave, Utah murder charge says

(Provided Photo/Utah County Sheriff's Office)
(Provided Photo/Utah County Sheriff's Office)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A 19-year-old Utah man has been accused of forcing a man to dig his own grave before killing him and burning his body in a remote wooded area, prosecutors said.

Raul Francisco Vidrio was charged Monday with one count of aggravated murder in the death of Wesley Dee Nay, 22, and remained jailed Tuesday on $500,000 bail, sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

It was not immediately clear if Vidrio has a lawyer or will be appointed one. He also is charged with abuse or desecration of a dead human body and obstruction of justice.

A witness told police the two got into an argument in late August, when Nay was last seen alive. Hunters found Nay’s remains in a shallow grave on Oct. 19 about 100 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, authorities said.

A probable cause statement alleges that Vidrio beat Nay, stabbed him and placed his body in a grave filled with chopped wood before dousing the body in gasoline and lighting it on fire.

Detectives say they recovered a deleted image from Vidrio’s cellphone that appeared to show Nay digging what would become his own grave, the Deseret News reported.

“The image depicts Mr. Nay in the same clothing he was last seen in, digging a hole in a grassy meadow that strongly resembles the location where his remains were found,” the charges say.

Charred bones, including a human skull, were found in the remote area, along with burned pieces of wood. The Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office identified Nay through dental records and concluded he had suffered blunt-force injuries and stab wounds.

Nay was reported missing on Sept. 18. Witnesses reported seeing him leaving a home in the city of Mount Pleasant with Vidrio on Aug. 28, the last day Nay was seen alive, search-warrant affidavits say.

A witness at the home said Nay and Vidrio got into an argument there. The witness said Vidrio borrowed a chain saw from him at one point “to be used to cut wood to burn evidence and flesh,” the document reads.

The charges say Vidrio is “a known drug dealer” and gang member in Mount Pleasant. He made an initial court appearance Monday and is scheduled to return to court Dec. 1.